A nexus effect


or If Identity is the New Perimeter, Your Smartphone is Your New Identity

A growing number of us live at the center of a technological web. Strands radiate out connecting us to our smart home, enabling us to do things such as turn lights on and off or lock doors. Other strands connects us to our vehicle, allowing us, for example, to start it remotely and then turn on the heater so that it is warm when we get into it.

Some very short strands connect us to our wearables. Watches, bracelets, articles of clothing and other devices track our vital statistics, location, level of activity, and other data that is of interest to us. Longer strands connect us to our workplace, allowing us to access the data and the systems we need to be productive at a distance and after hours.

And a complex tangle of strands connect us to our social identity across numerous social media sites and services that helped keep others aware of what we are doing and connect us to those we care about.

Earlier I said that we live at the center of a web, but that description is imprecise. It is more accurate to say that each of us possesses a nexus that is the center of a technology web, and we take that nexus with us wherever we go.

Through this single nexus, which is usually in our pockets, we connect to and control our homes, our vehicles, are wearable devices, our work, and our social universe. The nexus is our smartphone.

Because we prize convenience, we give our smartphones unquestioned access to every aspect of our lives. Once we have opened our smartphone by entering a code or allowing it to recognize our face or touching it with our finger so that it can read our fingerprint, we want no further barriers. Our smartphones store passwords that we would have to enter elsewhere. If we forget a password our smartphone is the medium of choice for two-factor authentication, so that with our smartphone we can change any password that we have forgotten.

In short, our smartphones are a universal entry point to anything and everything of value to us, both physical and digital.

Suppose that, at some point in the past, we lost a house key. Someone finding that key, and either knowing or able to learn where we live, would then have access to our homes. On the other hand, they would not get anywhere with our vehicle or our social presence, for example.

Suppose that someone hacked into our connected vehicle. They could control it remotely in all the same ways that we do. Even so, this would in no way help them compromise the security of our wearable devices or grin to them any access to our job resources.

Suppose that someone intercepted data passed along by your wearables. They could gain access to data about our location, our health, our habits and anything else that we allow our device to track. But of course, this would not help them gain access to our smart home or to our smart vehicle.

Suppose that someone successfully guest or fished our username and password allowing us to access the network and resources at our job, or our work email. They would have access not only to data important to us but potentially to data important to our employer. But we would have nothing to here with respect to the security of our homes or our vehicles or our social presence.

Suppose that someone cracked or hacked any of our many social media accounts. They would gain access to all the personal and private exchanges we so often have with friends and family and others in are virtual social settings, including digital data in the form of photos and videos and audio recordings and anything else that is part of our social media universe. But this would not help them gain access to our Network account at work.

Finally, suppose that someone hacked our smartphone and gained elevated privileges. In that case, we would by dramatically vulnerable. The bad actor would effectively have an open path to our home, our vehicle, our wearable devices, our job resources, and our entire social presence.

By simply hacking our poorly protected smartphone, a bad actor can gain access to our entire universe, bypassing the countless diverse security measures designed to protect each aspect of our digital and physical world.

This is the nexus effect. By cracking a single point at the center of our connected web, hackers open countless doors all in one single swoop.

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Sam Romero By Sam Romero

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